Mom, Dad, can we keep him? Can we can we can we????? I think he will fit in the car if he has his head sticking out the window.
(Bubba looks back and says) “Hmmm, there’s a real big pile back there….I don’t think Uncle Arny and Aunt Sandy are going let this thing in their backyard!”
There you are, four different states in one picture.
Selfie of me standing in four states at the same time.
Here is someone we don’t know, so I blocked out her face, doing what most do…stand and and get their picture taken. But this also allow me to describe four corners as brief and concise as I can. She is standing on the four corner circle as show above. Around the outer dark circle there is the following motto, with two words in each state’s portion: “Four States Here Meet In Freedom Under God”. Then the round portion found between this large dark circle and each state’s name is the state seal for the given state. There are benches to sit on in each state, and that is a photographer’s platform just beyond the lady…there are four of those too, one in each state. What looks like buildings in the background are concession booths where the Native Americans set up shops to sell trinkets, pictures, paintings and etches, food, and mainly jewelry.
Between the concession area and viewing area are these four waist high stone monument markers talking about how each state’s survey came together at this spot. These first surveys for each state took place as early as 1860 and as late as 1903. And no surprise here…they all did not meet where they should have. But the courts have recognized the current four corners location, and the current boarders between the four states, even though current technology shows that four corners should really be about 1,800 feet west of where it should be placed.
Here I am standing with my left foot in Colorado, Right foot in Utah, with the buildings to the left in New Mexico (Marcia is sitting in there somewhere), and Arizona off to the far right. There are eight flags, representing the four states, and the Colorado Utes, Utah Utes, New Mexico Navajos and the Arizona Navajos. The monument is under the control of the Indian Nations, it cost $5 per person, the parking lot is in very poor shape, there are no flushing toilets yet, but there is a nice bathroom building built with a sign saying, “Bathrooms still under construction” sign in front of the building. Unlike a few other Native American sites, there is no hard sell, no one going around pawning off any goods…if you want to shop, walk around the booths, if not, don’t. If I could have found a wallet, I might have made a purchase….but no wallets, no purses, lots and lots of jewelry, especially with turquoise on them.
And where does the “blues” come in? Like when we visited Wounded Knee in the Lakota Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota, we feel it is just so sad to see so much of the land not being put to use farming or ranching. The unemployment rate and poverty rate within the Indian Nations is high. The federal government’s budget for 2015 for the Bureau of Indian Affairs is nearly $2.7 billion. The government just settled a long term court battle providing another one time settlement of $1 billion, which is on top of the 2009 settlement of nearly $4 billion. As I said back in 2012, “if proper training was available and craft type of jobs, idle hands could be put to work, people could feel good about themselves, and people who are taught to fish, don't need to given free fish to be able provide food on their table.” It does look like the Navajo Nation is doing better than the Sioux Nation in this. We visited Shiprock New Mexico where I was dying for a Sonic Raspberry Ice Tea (they are the best). All of the people working at Sonic were Native American, mostly Navajo would be my guess. Ages ranged from teenagers to early twenties. Our server was very kind and helpful. Two Navajo Nation security guards/police walked by, entered the Sonic and talked to them, and walked on….just doing their daily rounds. Overall the city looked fairly clean, but with lots of old buildings. Stark contrast with the Sioux Nation, but still a stark contrast with many of the towns we have driven through over the past month. Yes, we need to support the Native Americans, but it just seems that something is broken and needs fixing.
Down by the four corners area, there are many classic rock formations, many of which have been in movies, especially westerns.
Shiprock, as seen in the background from within the city of Shiprock, is the most famous one.
Above is a picture from the Internet which is in the open source….we did not get close enough to get a good picture through the haze, but had we, it would have looked something like this. Of course Monument Valley which is 75 miles to the west, has many more of these buttes. Perhaps next time through this area we will travel through there too. Tomorrow, weather permitting, we are going into the high country.